Social Media Is Not a Growth Strategy For Real Estate Investors
Property management companies — and pretty much everyone, actually — is all a-twitter about social media these days.
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There’s nothing wrong with social media as part of your overall business plan; the fact is that social media can do a lot of good if it’s properly managed.
But there are a few massive misconceptions about social media that are making the rounds through the business world, inspired in no small part by marketing companies who want to make you believe that social media is the best thing that ever happened to their bottom line.
What Is Social Media For?
Ask one of those marketing companies what social media is for, and they’ll tell you it’s the marketing platform of the twenty-teens. They’ll tell you that it’s all you need: get a social media presence, be active, and the [whatever you wants]will come!
Social media is not a growth strategy — no matter how amazing your social media presence is, if that’s where you put 90% of your marketing money, you’ll get nothing for it. A more appropriate analogy for social media is that it’s a TV station.
You can purchase all of the TV time you want from the networks — if you don’t have some really killer material to put on during all of that time you purchased, all you’re going to get out of it is a wasted marketing budget.
Filling Your Airtime
On a TV station, obviously, what you want to use to fill your airtime is a commercial.
But not only can you not be expected to produce something like that, you don’t want to. You’re not in the business of appealing to everyman and their desire for cars and a clean shave.
You’re a private, local, serious business looking for a very specific set of clientele. You don’t really care about how many Likes or +1s you get, as long as you get your message in front of the few people who:
- Have property
- Are in your area
- and either don't have a property manager yet, or are unhappy with the one they have
That’s not a wide target audience, and because of that, social media isn’t really a great tool for property managers. It’s not a bad tool, per se, but it’s not going to suit your needs the way it suits Dollar Shave Club.
The proper focus for a PM company on the social media networks is brand building.
That is to say, you can and should focus on having a professional, organized, and accurately representative site for your business on every one of the major social media platforms (Facebook, Google+, Twitter, and Pinterest, at the minimum.)
People should be able to Google your name and see that you take care of your online presence like a respectable organization should. Part of that, however, means using your ‘airtime’ for professional, locally-relevant, business-relevant content.
A lot of people firmly believe that their business doesn’t have any potential for engaging content.
They think there’s just nothing about (industrial conveyor belt cleaners, fire damage repair, rain gutters, property management, the island of Mallorca, you name it) that is interesting and cool enough to be engaging on the social media platforms. They’re all full of it.
There is no such thing as an industry that is disinteresting, because every industry has customers, and every customer is looking for something when they reach your company’s social media page.
Most often, they’re looking for evidence that your business knows it’s stuff and takes itself seriously enough to be professional, but not so seriously that you’ll be hard to work with.
If your business is industrial conveyor belt cleaners, your customer is looking for interesting proof that you know your conveyor belt cleaning. If you’re a property manager, linking up strong content that shows that you manage properties and have been doing it professionally long enough to understand the intricacies is your goal.
Once you realize that single fact, the entire purpose of your “airtime” should become crystal clear. You’re not trying to impress everyone with your amazing viral video.
You’re trying to impress those three guys over there who just got together and purchased their first rental home and have no idea what to do next. You’re trying to get those guys to understand that handing their property over to you is the best idea they’ve had all day — and everyone else on Facebook be damned.
So get yourself some sweet, industry-relevant content that shows that you’re staying current on recent trends and that you’re competent as all get-out.
Write some of your own personal crazy stories about the most unusual tenants and situations you’ve been in down and if need be, hire an editor to turn them into a blog- or article-ready post. The methods of creating content almost don’t matter — what matters is that your customers, when they see them, will understand that you’re competent enough to have created them.
Localize, Localize, Localize
Having the content in the first place is your growth strategy.
Using social media to increase exposure to that medium is just amplifying the power of your growth strategy — but even that shouldn’t be the end of your process. Hiring a company to perform local SEO and local Internet marketing on that content (and on your social media pages themselves) is how you turn it up to 11.
If you don’t localize, you’re wasting a huge chunk of your energy showing your content off to people who aren’t in your area and can’t take advantage of your services. By focusing your efforts on just the people most relevant to your efforts, you’ll maximize your marketing ROI by minimizing useless exposure.
Social media is awesome stuff — it can do amazing things for any business. But if you try to use it in a way that isn’t appropriate for a property management company, you won’t get the results that a property management company needs.
Focus on representing yourself as competent, experienced, and professional, and don’t worry about what some marketer tells you about ‘engagement’ or ‘exposure’. Save that stuff for Honda.
How has social media affected your business?
Be sure to share your thoughts and comments below!